Here's what the publisher has to say about it:
Truly Madly Deadly is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about love, obsession and murder. Sawyer Dodd has it all. She’s a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She’s free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by “an admirer” and printed with two simple words:
I also have a guest blog from Jayne about the relationship that inspired TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY. Please be advised that it does contain descriptions of abuse.
I WAS A TEENAGE STATISTIC
I never thought I’d be a teenage statistic. Even when it was happening to me, I wasn’t part of that group of those people. My situation was different because I was different and I wasn’t the kind of person they were talking about anyway. Those people had really bad abusive relationships. Mine wasn’t that bad. There was blood and tears and threats of death in theirs and…and then there was blood and tears and threats of death in mine. I was one of those people. I was a teenage statistic.
My high school boyfriend was the most passionate, romantic, intense guy I’d ever met and he was attracted to me! The first day he saw me he was carrying a roll of duct tape. He asked me to stand up against the wall so he could tape me up there because the ASB assigned him to “make that corridor beautiful.” I blushed and instantly fell madly in love. We spent every moment together. I started to back away from my friends because I wanted to spend my every waking moment with him. And he was right; a couple of my friends only ever wanted to hang out and troll for guys. Which I didn’t need to do because I had him! He was a little jealous which I found totally adorable; I’d never had a guy be so into me that he thought every other guy was looking at me. When I did hang with my “approved” friends, he called me every second – which was totally fine because I missed him, too. When it turned out to be just me and him, I really didn’t care – at first. But then it was my best friend’s birthday and I really wanted to be there. I went, and promised I’d call him before we went to bed and I totally forgot. The next day, he wouldn’t answer my calls. My stomach was in knots. I couldn’t believe I had hurt him so badly just by not calling. He accused me of cheating and lying to him, saying that Jen and I were out with a couple of guys. We weren’t, so I begged him to believe me. He screamed at me and said some pretty horrible things but finally he believed me – then he pulled me into his arms and apologized for calling me those awful names and whispered that he just loved me so much and couldn’t bear the thought of me leaving him. I promised him I never would. That happened a couple more times but I always understood – he was a passionate guy and so sensitive – and he loved me so much. I had never felt that way before so I knew exactly what he meant.
The first time he shoved me, I wasn’t even sure that it really happened. We were fighting about something and he was mad again – I must have talked to someone he didn’t like or maybe it was what I was wearing. But he was just trying to get by me and he kind of shoved me. I’m sure he didn’t mean it and I thought I felt his hands on me at first, but I was probably wrong. He was just wound up and so he shoved past me and I rolled over my own feet. He didn’t say anything about it because it was an accident and he didn’t help me up because he was mad. He was crazy about me; he wouldn’t deliberately hurt me.
When he grabbed my shirt – he grabbed the chest of my shirt and pulled me up toward him so we were nose-to-nose – he didn’t mean to rip it. Sometimes he just got really passionate. And he apologized immediately – especially when he saw the scratches on my chest and the little buds of blood that were bubbling up. He was just so terrified of losing me.
It got worse from there and I knew I couldn’t be in this relationship anymore. But I still loved him so much and really, he was broken. He only needed help. I could help him, right? Besides, it was easy to shrug off the scrapes and bruises. When he rear-ended my car because he thought I was flirting at a game (I was a cheerleader), well, that was harder to explain. I had to tell him. I had to tell him we couldn’t be together.
We were at a party and we went into a bedroom. I told him that we had to stop seeing each other, that I wouldn’t let him hurt me. I remember his mouth dropping open and the pain in his eyes. It was like I could see his heartbreaking. I started to cry, but I wasn’t going to change my mind. He begged and pleaded. He told me he couldn’t live without me. But I couldn’t live that way. He told me he would die. That without me, his life wasn’t worth living. And in a heartbeat, he was on the balcony, climbing over the railing. He was going to jump. The tears were rolling over his face, over his lips and my heart was splintering. I couldn’t let him do that; I wouldn’t let him die. I begged. I pleaded. He walked closer to the edge and let one hand go. My heart was pounding in my throat and I rushed forward, grabbing his arm and pulling desperately. I wouldn’t leave him, I said. We would work through this together. He fell against me and I could smell the wind in his air as I listened to him cry and promise he would never hurt me again.
But he did. Again and again. Worse and worse. I was terrified to leave him because he’d kill himself. And I really did love him. Even with the constant anxiety and fear – because after that dissipated and he apologized and caught himself before it got really bad – I knew that he loved me. He said it over and over and got angry when I wouldn’t repeat it. Everything about me changed. I couldn’t leave him because by that time, all I had was him.
This went on for years until I finally was able to get away from him. And it was hard and humiliating because the police had to come and escort him away and I had to file a police report and write my name—my name—in a box that said VICTIM. It was awful, but I was finally free.
This is the first time I’ve gone public – very public! – with my experience, and it happened nearly twenty years ago. I kept quiet because of the humiliation, because I “shouldn’t have let that happen.” But then I realized what I was doing was keeping his dirty little secret, not mine.
So far, I’ve received nothing but support for going public and for putting a spotlight on teen dating violence in Truly, Madly, Deadly. I’m confident and strong now but I still occasionally wonder if people will think I was stupid or weak. And then I have to remind myself that recognizing, surviving, and getting out of an abusive situation made me anything but.